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Barry Bonds jury hears secret tape testimony

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SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Testimony in the Barry Bonds perjury trial focused on a secret recording of the US home run king’s trainer talking about steroid injections.

In the taped locker room chat, secretly recorded by a former friend and business manager of Bonds in 2003, trainer Greg Anderson talks about the dangers of repeated steroid injections in the same spot.

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“Is that why Barry didn?t just shoot it into his butt all the time?” Steve Hoskins, the man who made the recording, asks Anderson.

“Oh no, I never — I never just go there. I move it all over the place,” Anderson says, explaining that prevents a “gnarly” cyst from forming, a common side effect of using the same injection site too many times.

Bonds is charged with lying to a federal grand jury in 2003 when he denied that he knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs.

He pleaded not guilty to four counts of lying under oath and one count of obstruction of justice.

On cross-examination, defense lawyers hammered Hoskins about his motives for making the recording.

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They implied in questioning that Hoskins, a friend of Bonds since childhood, was bitter over a friendship and business relationship gone bad and may have altered the recording.

Hoskins maintained he taped the conversation to play it for Bonds? father, former San Francisco Giants player Bobby Bonds, in an attempt to elicit the elder Bonds? help in stopping his son?s drug use.

Hoskins said his only alteration was to raise the volume on the recording because it was difficult to hear.

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“I would want to help Barry then, and I would want to help Barry now,” he said.

Later in his testimony, Hoskins called Bonds “a very good friend — a very good person.”

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“He?s also the best baseball player that there?s ever going to be,” Hoskins added emphatically. “That was one of the reasons that I was the one trying to stop him taking steroids, because I thought it was bad for him.”

Hoskins, a soft-spoken man in a gold tie and cream-colored jacket who seemed unfazed during withering cross-examination, also told jurors that he once observed Bonds go into a bedroom with Anderson, the trainer, during spring training.

Bonds sat at a table with his lawyers, expressionless as Hoskins described seeing Anderson emerge from the bedroom holding a syringe with a needle.

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Anderson, who served several months in prison for steroid dealing, is currently behind bars for refusing to testify in this case.

Bonds had previously asked Hoskins to investigate an injectable steroid called Winstrol, Hoskins said.

“He just wanted me to find out what (the) specific steroid was and wanted me to find out what the effects were,” Hoskins told the jury of eight women and four men.

About a year after Bonds asked him to look into the steroid, Hoskins said, Bonds complained about the physical side effects of steroid injections.

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“He just complained that his butt was sore from the injections,” Hoskins said, “just that the steroid was — the shots were making his butt sore.”

Hoskins testified that he noticed physical changes in Bonds. He had to order larger sizes of shoes and gloves for the Giants star as his physique expanded, he said.

The San Francisco Giants slugger “got bigger and heavier. A lot more muscle.”

The trial was scheduled to continue Thursday with additional cross-examination of Hoskins and testimony from James Valente.

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Valente is the former vice president of BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative that created once undetectable designer steroids whose discovery rocked athletics and baseball.

BALCO is at the heart of this case as well as several major doping cases.


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Trump has committed 6 impeachable offenses: Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe says ‘the evidence is all there’

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Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe broke down the six impeachable offenses President Donald Trump has committed during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Tribe has argued 36 cases before the United States Supreme Court and taught at Harvard Law for 50 years. He co-authored the 2018 book To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment with Joshua Matz.

"Everyone was in the loop, it was no secret. That was the testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland yesterday as he implicated the president, Secretary of State, White House chief of staff, and former National Security Advisor John Bolton and other administration officials in the plot to bribe the president of Ukraine to publicly launch an investigation into Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. military aid to Ukraine that was authorized by Congress and that the president was withholding," O'Donnell reported.

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Rachel Maddow breaks down how public opinion is catching up with the facts of Trump’s impeachment

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Thursday broke down how the details from the televised impeachment hearings are being reported in local newspapers.

The host read the headlines from multiple newspapers following the damning testimony by Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

The Los Angels Times headlined, "Sonland implicates president." "Envoy says Trump directed effort," was The Wall Street Journal headline.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch headlined, "'Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret': Defiant Sondland says he followed Trump's orders."

"Trump directed pressure on Ukraine, ambassador says," headlined The Kansas City Star.

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Shep Smith blasts autocrats in first public remarks since leaving Fox News — and donates $500,000 to protect journalists

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On Thursday, for the first time since exiting Fox News, reporter Shepard Smith gave public comments at the International Press Freedom Awards — and used the occasion to blast autocratic leaders who use their power to suppress journalism.

"Intimidation and vilification of the press is now a global phenomenon. We don’t have to look far for evidence of that,” said Smith. "Our belief a decade ago that the online revolution would liberate us now seems a bit premature, doesn’t it? Autocrats have learned how to use those same online tools to shore up their power. They flood the world of information with garbage and lies, masquerading as news. There’s a phrase for that."

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